Total Fiasco?

Posted on Apr 24, 2019 in Featured, Logistics, Piano Camp, Planning, think

Last year I had “the best idea ever” as I planned for summer piano classes. I had heard a great motivating podcast, I contacted the right people, I bought all the equipment, I created a buzz, I thought I did all the right things.

I just failed to ask the parents and students what they really wanted.

Of course, I knew I wanted them to continue with lessons during the summer, so I just made a plan and cemented it to the ground.

I lost money. And received very little interest in the program.

I just kept thinking this idea would work. But I did not figure out the numbers. There was no longterm goal in place. It was just a shiny new object that was blinding me and everyone else around me!

You, on the other hand, can learn from my mistakes as you plan your next summer piano camp. Take a minute or two and read this short list of how you could certainly fail.

You don’t know what your current families are looking for. (or You don’t have a plan!). It’s seems to be a classic shiny new object syndrome. You hear about the latest curriculum, music book, or gadget and you automatically think this is what you need. STOP! The next new and exciting piano camp will not satisfy anyone’s needs if the need is nonexistent. It will just create drama. Remember how I did not ask my current families what they were looking for? Yeah…now I have ALL THIS EQUIPMENT that I need to resell.

If you have a plan, you are NOT executing this plan. And this goes hand in hand with the previous paragraph. And I promise I am going to put it into practice for next summer. I have to change the way I plan for the summer. Based on my experience from last year, I came up with a new plan. My own shiny plan, which as I write this I want to kick myself for not surveying the parents beforehand.

You continuously ask your peers, family members and friends for their opinions. Which is the opposite of the first problem mentioned above. Instead of just choosing what to do and following your gut, you spend all of your precious time asking everyone else what they think YOU should do. A waste of time!

You have unrealistic expectations. Are you envisioning that once you have chosen your shiny new piano camp curriculum, parents will be bombarding you with enrollment forms? Or maybe that the phone will be ringing off the hook? Or that ALL of your students will enroll, just because you put your flyer up? Take a pencil right now and write down the number of students you need to make it worth your while. Then choose the minimum number of students that you would accept before canceling. Can you live with this decision?

After a few months of thinking about last summer, I have come to realize it was not a failure. Up until last month I considered it failure but now I consider it growth.

It was a growth opportunity for me as a business owner and teacher. Of the students enrolled in that summer program I only lost one, the others enrolled in a different program right here at my studio.

As I read over this post, I realize that I still have a few things to improve for next summer camp plans (like not imposing my great new shiny ideas…), and I will definitely grow from whatever comes about this summers’ plans.

Are you ready to grow?

Here’s a survey you can copy and edit to your needs and send to parents.

My shiny new ideas for this summer…


  1. Takenya
    July 11, 2019

    This could not be a more timely read! I have had the same failures. Dorla, you have clearly laid out what I can do to prevent future errors. I had students stay on for a while after summer as well. I’m armed and ready to make next summer the best one yet! Well done!

    • Dorla
      July 12, 2019

      Let’s gradually work towards a better summer piano program! Thanks for reading 🙂


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